Attacks on A-10 supporters on all fronts
This week the U.S. House is expected to consider the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) bill including an amendment by Rep. Seth Moulton that would allow the USAF to retire some of the A-10 fleet. Last week, General (ret.) Roger Brady, in a letter published in Air Force Times, continued the attack and reignited the controversy started by Major General James Post.
Unlike Post, who had implied that the vocal support for the A-10 could be treasonous, Brady attacks Airmen who have spoken to members of Congress about the USAF’s A-10 mothball plans as lacking a “sense of good order and discipline.” While Post was rightly reprimanded for his actions, based on the findings of the USAF Inspector General, Brady’s indictment of pro-A-10 Airmen as “insubordinate” elicited a scathing indictment.
Brady’s letter, described by Lt. Colonel (ret) Tony Carr on the popular military website John Q. Public, as “offensive and alienating to scores of educated, experienced professionals,” has earned him contempt and inspired countless service members to continue the fight for the A-10.
Carr, who is currently a student at Harvard Law and editor of the school’s military journal, noted: “Nothing that has happened in the A-10 debate comes close to fitting within this definition. General Brady should know better than to imply otherwise. For him to suggest that airmen exercising clearly protected speech are guilty of a crime is outrageous, and hostile to federal law.”
Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Straus Military Reform Project, agrees. “The constitutional right of our service members to speak to their elected representatives is sacred. Arguing that making these protected disclosures is a violation of good order and discipline is wrong and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the law,” stated Smithberger. “Fortunately the Air Force Inspector General disagrees with Gen. Brady, as does the current leadership of the Air Force.”
The USAF leadership has condemned Post’s comments, but only after Senator Kelly Ayotte and McCain called for an investigation and the IG found his comments to be inappropriate. While USAF leadership had little choice but to remove Post from his post, it did not stop their Post-like attacks.
Those attacks were evident in Brady’s letter. Using his freedom as a private citizen, Brady uses Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Mark Welsh’s marginalizing tactic when he writes that the “debate is emotional, increasingly heated.”
The conversation has been anything but emotional, but it will get very heated this week. According to an article by Valerie Insinna, “a slew of Democratic amendments that would pare back spending on major military acquisition programs could be up for debate,” including Moulton’s.
Moulton is fighting for more TOW missiles, which are built by Massachusetts-based Raytheon. Also Rep. Mark Sanford is offering an amendment that would limit Overseas Contingency Operation funds for “incremental, time-limited military requirements” needed for the war on terror, according to Insinna.
Insinna reports that some amendments “would hit major Navy programs including one submitted by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) that “would strip away procurement funding from the Littoral Combat Ship program until the Navy Secretary certifies that new upgunned LCS meets the recommendations of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) “proposed an amendment that would keep the Navy from being able to use the Sea-Based Deterrent Fund to pay for the Ohio-class replacement submarine.”
Last week, U.S. Senator John McCain, Chair of the Senate Armed Forces Committee held a “TREASON” baseball cap during the press conference regarding the Air Force’s plan to mothball the A-10. McCain was joined by senators, pilots, and former Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) Charlie Keebaugh, and Master Sergeant (retired) Tim Stamey.
Stamey expressed disappointment that the leadership still doesn’t hear the message sent by McCain and so many others. “Rank in our federal government during these times of self-fulfillment, as opposed to the old days of “Others before Self” or “Ask not what your country can do for you,” does not impress me whatsoever,” said Stamey. “Thanks to the internet, research on an individual’s background and what they have truly done is easily discerned. General Brady’s commentary on Airmen who have talked to Congress concerning divestment of the A-10 is not surprising if you look at his background. He cannot understand someone who would do such a crazy thing, as risk their career for an airplane instead of toeing the political line.”
Stamey continued, “General Brady’s Masters degree is in Political Science and he has never flown a combat aircraft. He has taken his college and carefully crafted a highly successful – yet safe career in the USAF. In the last 50 years true Warriors, who are straight forward and direct, have not enjoyed a rapid climb on the ladder of success as opposed to political minded officers. Individuals whom are consumed by their own welfare and career are much less likely to put themselves truly in harm’s way. Those individuals would not give their life – and do not take to heart – the oath “fight and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic”. That Constitution guarantees even low ranking, life risking, front line fighting, patriot warrior grunts the right to talk the their Congressman. It gives that poor Private who is willing to give everything including his life for this Great Nation the same rights and freedoms as it does a self-serving General.”
Stamey, an Air Force combat veteran, Silver Star recipient, and former JTAC. He served in the Air Force for almost 22 years, including 14 years as a JTAC with extensive experience controlling a variety of aircraft in combat – including A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, B-1s, and B-52s. Master Sergeant (retired) Stamey was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. According to his Silver Star citation, in late 2001 and early 2002 in Afghanistan, “Sergeant Stamey provided positive terminal attack control on over eighty sorties of fighters and bombers destroying over seventy-five tanks, mobile anti-aircraft systems, and vehicles, four ammo-dumps, numerous command and control facilities and bunkers, inflicting 2,139 enemy casualties.”
“The A-10 main mission is to provide lifesaving fire support to the grunts on the front lines. Those individuals who risk all are most deserving of the best support we can give them along with a government willing to listen to their heartfelt concerns,” concluded Stamey.
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